Franchise-starting reboot? We can only hope so.
Why I Saw It: Growing up, I was a HUGE fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. I never read the comic boks and I haven’t watched any significant portion of any of the follow-on cartoons. I have seen all the movies, though. I enjoyed some of them and was really disappointed by at least one of them. Knowing that this movie could very easily reboot the franchise and had potential for being a fun time, I wanted to see it in the theater.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Why The Criticism Is Un-due: Was this movie anywhere near as good as GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY? No. Was it anywhere near as bad as it seemed like it might be, when it was announced that Michael Bay wanted the Turtles to be aliens?! Not even close. The action is really good when typical “Hollywood Frantic Pacing” isn’t involved. The fun one-liners from the Turtles are mostly in keeping with their history. The story seems a bit contrived and there were about a half-dozen or more lines that I wish they would edit out, but all in all I don’t have any huge criticisms.
It actually included quite a few lines and bit moments which either made fun of itself, paid homage to the old cartoon or were direct nods to the 1990 film. We got a few hints at what characters potential sequels might include, especially if you look at the cast list. Not to mention there was skateboarding and pizza.
Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:
- Pleasant Surprise of 2014
Favorite Parts: There were a few really cool moments during fight scenes where the Turtles come together to do double-team style moves, and that was a lot of fun, the final fight especially. The elevator scene leading up to the final fight got a laugh out of seemingly everyone in the theater and is a prime example of how this film wove fun moments in along the way.
There was a comment one of the characters made referencing a somewhat obscure Turtles side-character, which I’d be extremely surprised if it were a coincidence, and that just goes to show that the people in charge of the “franchise” have some ideas up their sleeves about where to go from here. When that happens, as it did in Batman Begins, I can over-look some regrettable aspects of a film which likely serves as the start of a film franchise.
The Regrettable Aspects: I won’t even try to say that this was a great film, because it had its faults. I didn’t much care for the initial part of the backstory for the Turtles. Once they get out into the wild, I like how the story progresses. They went a bit too far when creating Shredder’s costume, though there aren’t too many times where they zoom in on the suit to point out just how lame certain aspects of it actually are. That said, there are some cool new things they did with the suit to update it and give Shredder a little something extra. And lest we not forget how Shredder’s sparkly outfit looked in the 1990 film that most TMNT fans enjoyed:
And then we remember how awesome the outfit was in the original cartoon, and so having a little perspective is a good thing.
While I liked the fact that the Turtles each had attire which fit their personalities, not everything about their attire was good. Leonardo’s “armor” is a prime example of that. In fact, the “look” of the Turtles was a bit awkward as well, though if you actually look at a real live turtle up close, they’re not far off from what was on screen.
No, the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil is NOT something I’d consider to be regrettable. Perhaps the fact that she didn’t have red hair is regrettable, but not to any significant extent.
Would I watch it again? Absolutely. I’ll probably end up buying the film on Blu-ray, because it’s absolutely a film I want my son to see someday.
To Whom Would I Recommend It? Anyone who likes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wants to see a cool live-action version of it brought to the big screen. People might get their hopes up and expect this film to be more enjoyable than the version from 1990, and that would be a mistake, but it’s absolutely worth the watch – especially because the inevitable sequels have a ton of potential now that the origin story is out of the way.
Note: This was the 90th film I’ve seen for my Film Quest 2014.